Slightly more than 25,000 Idaho elementary school students were reading below grade level, according to statewide test scores from this spring.
As sobering as those numbers sound, they also represent a snapshot. In the fall of 2015, more than 36,000 students were not reading at grade level. At the end of the school year, two-thirds of these students remained below grade level. But over the course of the school year, teachers and schools helped 11,000 students pull their reading skills to grade level.
The scores on the Idaho Reading Indicator come as the state is focusing more attention — and taxpayer money — on early childhood literacy. The 2016 Legislature endorsed a $9.1 million literacy initiative, designed to provide extra help to kindergarten through third-grade students who are struggling with reading. The literacy initiative will launch during the 2016-17 school year.